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Part 8 GWLUA/GWInc Legal Issues

Part 8 GWLUA/GWInc Legal Issues Gillian Fryer posted 6 months ago

The Board was ecstatic about the Emery letter, as they concluded it made them legitimate. The Board sent the following letter to the community. Notice my name is not on it. I was not consulted, although I was still a board member.

I had to go out of town to teach a class at the Whittington Center in Raton, so I was gone from August 21 through the 23rd, 2019. I didn't tell anyone that I was going out of town. I was just setting up my class when I got this email from John:

He accidentally, on purpose, told me the board had planned a meeting with Emery without including me. I didn't include the conversation after this, but board members were agreeing that they were meeting on the 22nd, but they carefully did not include the time of the meeting. I had held out hope that the newest board member Marilee, was not part of the cabal, so this email erased that hope entirely. I thought about driving back to Taos, leaving my fellow instructors in the lurch, but I decided against it, as I had made a commitment to be there. I was sure the board would now do this with regularity anyway, so it probably didn't make much difference at this point.

I sent Emery an email a few days later, asking if he could send me his meeting summary, and he replied that he had none. Amy then chimed in and said she didn't know why I hadn't shown up to the meeting. I told her why, and she denied that they had made any secret arrangements.

Amy did send out this email with her summary of the Emery meeting:

(note the confidentiality notice at the bottom: Amy included this statement for a short time. I was among a list of intended recipients and I consider that I am free to distribute it as I choose.)

This is a clip of Emery's invoice for that meeting: note that he says they had a teleconference with Natelson, Mike's attorney, where it appears Natelson claims that the GWLUA has not expired.

On 8/30/19, Judge McElroy held his final hearing on the lawsuit before he retired and turned the case over to another judge. Amy was there, as were a number of community members. Natelson again asked McElroy to rule on the legality of the GWLUA and McElroy again refused to do so. Natelson, Amy and Mike should have realized that the claim to Emery that the GWLUA had not expired, was unfounded, but none of them apparently said anything. These three people perpetuated a fraud by not disclosing this to Emery and the rest of the board.

On 9/3/19, Nicole sent out the following letter to the community regarding a community meeting to discuss incorporation.

The board held another closed door meeting on 9/5/19 at Amy's house, where John proceeded to eliminate Nicole, our clerk. Nicole took on more than a simple clerk's job: she was meticulous about taking extensive notes, but she also had a sense of propriety absent from many of the board members, so she would often suggest behavior or wording that was more appropriate to our situation. I don't know why John had it in for Nicole, as I knew she had considered him a friend. John had clearly met with Judy before the meeting to set up the attack. I got to the meeting and almost immediately the other board members pounced on the subject of something inappropriate Nicole had supposedly said about the board. Mike said he could no longer trust Nicole and they agreed to sanction her. Then a funny thing happed: John walked back the accusations... maybe it wasn't Nicole after all, but Alicia who had said the bad things. Then maybe Alicia hadn't said them either. It didn't matter, as the board did not recant the accusation and Nicole was officially on her way out. I had recorded the entire incident. Nicole resigned almost immediately. What was the bad thing she supposedly said? That the board was composed of liars and cheats. That is something I would have said even back then, but I'm sure Nicole would have been more eloquent if she had said such a thing, which I doubt. She's got more class than that.

The official recorder and moral compass was now gone.

The board also discussed issues of incorporation during this meeting: they made it very clear that they had NO INTENTION of allowing the community to change the balloting to one person one vote, they planned on retaining their positions and they didn't intend to change any of the GWLUA documents.

Their threshold for voting came from Emery: a simple majority of a quorum. Mike said we should follow Emery’s advice, so the board didn’t consider what I said. I separately found details in the NM Condo Act, which details a super-majority of 2/3 of a quorum for serious issues. That is the standard among most states in their HOA laws. It is also the standard detailed in the HOA Manual, which Judy Sutton had been bandying about. I suggested that or preferably what our documents required since we are planning on extending the lifespan of the community: a 75% margin.

Synchronous to this, several community members met privately to discuss what was really going on... Alicia Bomhoff came up with a 'Declaration of Independence,' and Zac Helmberger came up with his own variation, and both started petitioning community members for signatures in opposition to fast-tracking a permanent change the GWLUA. Both documents are here:

Three of those same community members started this website as a place for community members to find pertinent documents.

John visited me to try to convince me to tone down my objections in order to push through incorporation because it was better to have something rather than nothing. I pointed out that our By-laws specifically required that 75% of the members in good standing must sign a statement agreeing to continue the GWLUA past the 25-year expiration date, 4/26/19. This was the first he had heard of this (although I also talked about it at the meeting at Amy's house) and he said that none the lawyers he had talked to ever mentioned it. He seemed to think this clause was negotiable. Since I told Emery about the applicable laws and the two scenarios for expiration at our initial meeting, I was appalled that a licensed practicing attorney would just ignore this mandate.

Since it takes 75% to continue, it should take 25%+ to refuse to continue the GWLUA or any offspring.

The discussion of the voting threshold for incorporation became quite heated, as you can see from this lengthy email thread. (Reading from bottom to top, it starts with John's agenda for the meeting.) You can see that Emery seems to have enabled the board to act on its own behalf, rather than for the community.

The board didn't want any surprises, so they required that all questions be submitted in advance so they could be vetted and the proper answers determined. We had a meeting the afternoon before at Judy's house to prepare. Amy said they had not received any questions at all, although later, several people told me they had submitted questions.

On September 18, 2019, I arrived at the appointed time and place to see this note tacked to the door:


I know this was a long post with lots of convoluted references. It's worth taking the time to slog through. Many of you new community members have no idea that these events happened. I hope you are at least beginning to question how this could happen among supposedly educated people in a civil society.

How many members/ what percentage signed the 'Declaration of Independence?'

profile-50.pngJody Rhines commented 6 months ago

Alicia and Zac's combined petitions got 43 unique member signatures, so it was a slight majority at the time. (I think Alicia got 22 and Zac 21, or maybe the other way around.). The board didn't care. I will post the next update this Saturday.

profile-50.pngGillian Fryer commented 6 months ago

We had people who verbally expressed agreement but refused to identify themselves with a signature due to fear of community retribution.

This is the level of fear we are dealing with here. The pressure put on the people of Greater World socially is immense and ongoing as is clearly definable by the email everyone received from Sarah regarding her feelings about this website and forum. She perceives she has superior influence in the community and leveraged it as a community wide weapon to attack me personally. She was completely aware of her audience, as was prior board member Judy when she took the opportunity to pile on with an additional slanderous email response. These are concerted efforts to overtly influence the community and keep us in line under the powers that be. I reject their authority.

profile-50.pngLaNaeh commented 6 months ago

Here is the invitation to the meeting, if you don't want to click on the link: 

You should note several things: it appears the board has already decided to incorporate, despite the fact that there had not been any discussion of the pros vs the cons.

Recall at an earlier meeting, Diane specifically asked Judy if she had studied the pros and cons of incorporation, and Judy said yes. Then Diane asked what some of the cons might be, and Judy told Diane to be quiet because she was speaking out of order, despite the fact that Mike, officiating the meeting, had called on Diane to speak.

The Town Hall scheduled specifically to discuss incorporation, didn't address the issue either, because John made it all about Paravich and the asphalt production at Taos Gravel Products.

So, from the letter, the board set the terms of voting to 1. a quorum (2/3j of responses required first, and then 2. a majority vote. 3. Also,they gave 30 days to respond.

This means that if 2/3 of the membership doesn't vote, it doesn't matter what the vote is, it is still void. IF 2/3s does vote, then a majority, or 51% of 2/3 (or 34%) decides the future for everyone.

FYI, we never had even 50% of the community vote in any of our formal elections, so the quorum requirement is a big hurdle. At some point, the board realizes this.

Of course, this violates our GWLUA documents, which state that 75% of the community must vote in writing in order to extend the organization beyond 20 years. Since incorporation was intended to create a permanent organization, such a vote was required. The board has decided that 34% gets to decide, rather than 75%. That's a big difference.

This is the sign on the door for the special meeting to discuss incorporation.

No notice was given to anyone beforehand. That shows you the professionalism of the board and their opinion of the community members.

Where is the outrage?

profile-50.pngGillian Fryer commented 6 months ago

I am fully outraged as everyone is quite aware.

We all gathered for this meeting somewhere near the visitors center. There was a much larger group of us than ever before. Many, with paperwork in hand prepared to talk, just watched the clock waiting to walk over for the meeting when someone came back from that general direction. It was announced that there was now a sign on the door that was not there when we first arrived. The sign pictured above. Someone on the board must have tiptoed to the door and hung this notice. The irony obvious since the sign read, "Due to lack of community response"

This was a turning point, especially for the newer people involved. It was this situation that eventually lead to the community hiring its own legal aid specifically excluding the old GWLUA folk, those that were supposed to be there to advocate for us.

But also by this point it had become apparent that the incorporation might not be necessary at all since the one thing we are is a Taos County Subdivision. The common land, just like common land in any subdivision across America, would be part and parcel of the county subdivision. The one and only reason any of that land would need to be owned by the community would be if it was decided that we needed to build something in common; greenhouse, clubhouse, pool, whatever. At that time we would go to the county as a legally formed HOA and present our plans. We would need to provide insurance on any land commonly owned for the community and pay for that land's property tax. We would then, as a community, have something that we all owned in common. This is the entire reason and ONLY reason for a HOA. To, as a group, operate and maintain commonly owned land within a subdivision.

Owners of land within a subdivision do not pay taxes or insurance for land that surrounds their home outside of their property lines. For example an alleyway or sidewalks. If owners of land live in a neighborhood that has organized and built things for the community at large to enjoy and increase overall property values then those land owners more than likely pitch in so that those community amenities are maintained appropriately. Home Owners Associations were formed so people could be FAIRLY represented as they spent money outside of their own property's care.

If there is no commonly owned land, there is no need for a HOA. There is no commonly owned land in Greater World at all, since there is no entity that legally has the permission of all of its landowners to do so. There is now land owned by a group of people called GW Inc. GW Inc does not include a majority of land owners. The majority of land owners reject their assumed authority. Without express permission you cannot simply decide you are the leader, make rules, and divvy out punishments without obtaining explicit consent.

If you signed paperwork with GW Inc., then you too are the proud owner of land that incurs debt of which you will be partially monetarily responsible. I believe there are stipulations on this land that state it cannot be altered or built upon so it would never be used as something that would require the formation of a HOA to begin with.

The only reason there was expense associated with this land in the past was because it was solely owned by Mike Reynolds and he took care of that by forcing the community to pay that debt.

In other words, GW Inc is in business to rake in money from anyone they can to maintain and pay property expenses on land that requires none.

I will echo Gillian's question. Where is the outrage?

profile-50.pngLaNaeh commented 6 months ago

Anyone who has ever lived under threat knows where the outrage is. It is stuffed, safely inside... deeep down somewhere inside. Outrage is an emotion- the safe expression of which is reserved for people living in a free, democratic community or society.
Sit and enjoy.

profile-50.pngJody Rhines commented 6 months ago


Under the current state of affairs, with internet censorship, all our freedoms are in imminent danger! There are bothersome parallels between our national politics and our local GW politics.

The opposite is true too: if you don't speak up now, be prepared to lose your speech.

profile-50.pngGillian Fryer commented 6 months ago